Boston has a well-deserved reputation as a great sports town. The Red Sox, Celtics, and New England Patriots have been more successful and popular than the Bruins recently, but local fans are nothing if not loyal -- just ask all those Celtics fans who waited 22 years between NBA championships. Fans are also passionate about college sports, particularly hockey, in which the Division I schools are fierce rivals.
The TD Garden, 100 Legends Way (Causeway St.; tel. 617/624-1000 for events line or 800/745-3000 for Ticketmaster), is home to the Sports Museum of New England (tel. 617/624-1234), which celebrates local teams and athletes of all ages -- especially the Celtics and Bruins, who play in the building. Exhibits, which are on the fifth and sixth floors of the arena, include Red Sox legend Ted Williams's locker and a penalty box from the old Boston Garden. Visit the website to download an audio tour. The museum is open from 10am to 4pm daily, subject to closures depending on the arena schedule. Tickets cost $10 for adults, $5 for seniors and children 10 to 18, free for children 9 and under. Always call ahead; there's no access during events. Note: Visitors may not bring any bags, including backpacks and briefcases, into the arena.
Beyond the "big four" professional sports and dozens of college options, several lower-profile pro franchises call the Boston area home, including two lacrosse teams. The New England Revolution (tel. 877/438-7387) of Major League Soccer plays at Gillette Stadium on Route 1 in Foxboro from March through October. Tickets cost $20 to $40 and are available through Ticketmaster (tel. 800/745-3000). The Boston Blazers (tel. 888/252-9377) of the National Lacrosse League play at the TD Garden from January through late April. Tickets are $16 to $25. The Boston Cannons (tel. 888/847-9700 or 617/746-9933) of Major League Lacrosse play at Harvard Stadium from mid-May through mid-August; tickets cost $15 and $20. The Boston Breakers of Women's Professional Soccer (tel. 877/439-2732 or 781/251-2100) also play at Harvard Stadium, from April through August. Tickets run $15 to $27.
Whether it’s your first baseball game of the season or the first game of your life at Boston’s famed baseball stadium—built in 1912, it’s the oldest ballpark in major league baseball—emerging from the concrete hallways into Fenway Park and seeing the expansive sky and emerald green field could make your heart grow two sizes. The city’s beloved Red Sox play here from April to early October (later if they make the playoffs). Tickets are mostly expensive ($20–$197), although prices vary depending on the popularity of the visiting team. Streets adjacent to the stadium become a sort of carnival midway for ticket holders before games, with concession stands and live music.
Tickets to Red Sox games can be purchased online or in person. The ticket office (tel. 877/REDSOX-9 [733-7699]) is at 4 Jersey St., off Brookline Avenue and just up the hill from the Kenmore T stop. In-season it’s open from 10am until 1 hour after the game starts; on non-game days its open 10am to 5pm. A limited number of game day tickets are sold at Gate E on Lansdowne Street, beginning 90 minutes prior to each home game. Fans can start lining up 5 hours prior to game time. Each guest can buy just one ticket and needs to enter the ballpark immediately after purchasing the ticket.
Security guidelines are tight here, as at other major stadiums. For a list of prohibited items visit www.mlb.com/redsox/ballpark/information/security.
A large variety of tours of Fenway Park (tel. 617/226-6660) run year-round. Most include a trip to the stands, the press box, and the luxury seats. Some tours allow visitors to walk the warning track and lay hands on the famed “Green Monster,” the left-field wall, nicknamed for both its color and its 37.2 feet (11.3 m) height, which turns a lot of would-be home runs into doubles. Tour tickets can be purchased online up to 30 days in advance; a limited number of same-day tickets are available on a first-come, first-served basis only at Fenway’s Gate D. The cost is $14 to $50, and tours take place daily 9am to 5pm or 3 hours before game time on game days. The main tour is one hour and costs $20 for adults and $14 for kids 12 and under.
Loads of Red Sox merchandise is for sale at the Red Sox Team Store, 19 Jersey St. (tel. 800/FENWAY-9) open 9am to 5pm 7 days a week year round, with extended hours on game nights.
Practical concerns: Compared with its modern brethren, Fenway is tiny. Tickets are the most expensive in the majors -- a few upper bleacher seats go for $12, but most are in the $25-to-$95 range, with the best dugout boxes topping $300, and that's if you pay face value. They go on sale in December; order early. Forced to choose between seats in a low-numbered grandstand section -- say, 10 or below -- and in the bleachers, go for the bleachers. They can get rowdy during night games, but the view is better from there than from deep right field. "Monster" seats prices top $150, but they're so popular that they're sold by lottery in batches throughout the season; check the website. A limited number of same-day standing-room tickets ($20-$35) are available before each game, and fans sometimes return presold tickets, especially if a rainout causes rescheduling. It can't hurt to check, particularly if the team isn't playing well; visit the website and navigate to "Red Sox Replay." Tip: The Game Day Ticket Sales office, near Gate E on Lansdowne Street, offers tickets that went unsold for some reason. The doors open 2 hours before game time; lining up is permitted 3 hours before that (but not earlier).
The Boston Celtics’ season runs from early October to April or May. Games take place at the TD Garden, 100 Legends Way, at the North Station transit hub. Tickets (tel. 866/4CELTIX [423-5849]) include family packs and are available at the team’s site, although games often sell out. Resale tickets are sold via Ticketmaster from a link at the Celtics’ online ticket page.
The New England Patriots (tel. 800/543-1776) are pretty much the most hated sports team in the country, but in Boston they are minor gods. The Pats play from August to December or January at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, about 45 minutes south of the city. Tickets sell out well in advance, although the website lists availability by game ($95 and way up for “standard” and “verified resale” tickets).
Boston College is the state's only Division I-A team. The Eagles, who compete in the Atlantic Coast Conference, play at Alumni Stadium in Chestnut Hill (tel. 617/552-4622). The area's FCS (formerly Division I-AA) team is Ivy League power Harvard University, Harvard Stadium, North Harvard Street, Allston (tel. 617/495-2211).
Over Labor Day weekend, the PGA Tour visits the Tournament Players Club of Boston, which is actually in suburban Norton (tel. 508/285-3200), for the Deutsche Bank Championship. Visit www.deutschebankchampionship.com or www.pgatour.com for more information. The senior women on the Legends Tour (www.thelegendstour.com) stop at Plymouth's Pinehills Golf Club (tel. 508/209-3000) in September. Aside from the pro tours, the Globe and Herald regularly list numerous amateur events for fun and charity.
The Boston Bruins (tel. 617/634-BEAR) season runs from early October to April or May. Games take place at the TD Garden, 100 Legends Way, at the North Station transit hub. Bruins tickets often sell out (the team has been particularly popular since winning the Stanley Cup in 2011). You can sign up for email or text alerts to get notified if tickets (day of or next day) become available.
Budget-minded fans who don't have their hearts set on seeing a pro game will be pleasantly surprised by the quality of local college hockey. Even for sold-out games, standing-room tickets are usually available the night of the game. The local teams regularly hit the national rankings; they include Boston College, Conte Forum, Chestnut Hill (tel. 617/552-4622); Boston University, Agganis Arena, 928 Commonwealth Ave. (tel. 617/353-4628 or 800/745-3000 [Ticketmaster]); Harvard University, Bright Hockey Center, North Harvard Street, Allston (tel. 617/495-2211); and Northeastern University, Matthews Arena, St. Botolph Street (tel. 617/373-4700). These four are the Beanpot schools, whose men's teams play a tradition-steeped tournament on the first two Mondays of February at the TD Garden. Women's games don't normally sell out.
The New England Revolution play in the Eastern Conference of the U.S. and Canada’s Major League Soccer. Like the New England Patriots football team, the Revolution play at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, about 45 minutes south of the city. The season runs from March to October. Tickets are nearly always available through Ticketmaster.
Suffolk Downs, 111 Waldemar Ave., off Route 1A, East Boston (tel. 617/567-3900; T: Blue Line to Suffolk Down, then take shuttle bus or walk 10 min.), is one of the best-run smaller tracks in the country. The legendary Seabiscuit raced here; a marker commemorates his storied career. The live racing season runs from May to November; post time is 12:45pm. The track offers extensive simulcasting options day and night year-round. General admission for live racing costs $2, and general parking is free.
For sports fans, Patriots Day—a Massachusetts-only holiday that commemorates the events of April 18 and 19, 1775, when the Revolutionary War began—is equally known as “Marathon Monday,” for the running of the Boston Marathon. One of the oldest and most famous 26.2-mile races in the world, it begins in Hopkinton, Massachusetts, and ends at Boston’s Copley Square. Elite women start at 9:30am and elite men at 10am, which means that runners begin arriving on city streets around 11:30am. Often one of the first really nice days of spring, it’s a terrifically festive day. The city experienced a brutal bombing at the finish line in 2013, which killed three spectators and injured another 264 people. Security in the years afterward has been heavy but not disturbing. As all serious runners know, it’s competitive even to qualify for an official race number. Contact the Boston Athletic Association (tel. 617/236-1652) for details.
On the third weekend of October, the Head of the Charles Regatta (tel. 617/868-6200) draws some 10,000 athletes from around the world to the Charles River in Cambridge for the 2-day rowing competition. It’s the country’s largest crew event, drawing tens of thousands of fans who line the shore and the bridges to socialize and occasionally even watch the action.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.